After years of working alongside my husband to counsel and mentor couples in distress, I’ve noticed a common issue. Even though many of the husbands have greatly disappointed or frustrated their wives, the wives come across as condemning and arrogant. Ouch!
When a wife is perceived as being arrogant and self-righteous, the husband usually avoids her, becomes passive aggressive, and self-medicates his pain through destructive choices such as alcohol, pornography, or even other women.
What if you were to choose to deal with your frustration and disappointment in a different way? What if you were to display humility, kindness and love…even when confronting destructive behavior? One quality that will really endear you to your husband is humility, and it’s Biblical! Philippians 2:3-4 says “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility, consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interest, but the interest of others.”
Catch yourself if you start talking down to your husband or start treating him like he is disgusting or inferior to you. In that moment, ask God to give you His perspective on your husband. Ask God to remind you that you’re not perfect either and that you’re both a work in progress…in the master’s hands.
I thought the title of this devotional would get your attention!! 🙂 However, I’m not talking about guys lusting after scantily-clad Dallas Cowboy cheerleaders. Instead, I’m talking about how men are naturally drawn to women who are cheerleaders in the sense of being their supporters and encouragers. So let me ask you this question. Does your husband sense that you are his cheerleader?
Most men struggle with feeling inadequate. Most men wrestle with feeling like a failure. Many men may never put effort into being a better father, husband, employee, or disciple of Jesus because they fear failure. In other words, they’d rather not try at all if it means they could risk the embarrassment of people noticing them failing in their endeavor. Perhaps this is why God instructed Joshua over and over again to “be strong and courageous” (Joshua 1:9). Joshua’s natural bent was to fear failure instead of stepping out with courage.
This is where a wife can make a huge difference! By speaking words of encouragement and affirmation and respect, your husband may find the courage to move forward. 1 Thessalonians 5:11 instructs us to “encourage one another and build each other up”. By becoming your husband’s cheerleader, your man may risk failure to step out and seek to be become a stronger, and more godly, leader of your family. Wouldn’t that be awesome?!
There’s certainly nothing wrong with being a confident and capable woman. In fact, I usually feel pretty strong, confident, and capable. However, I’ve realized something very important to the health of my marriage. I need to allow my husband to be needed by me! When I act like he isn’t needed, he feels emasculated. Your husband probably does too.
Men are wired by God to be leaders. In fact, in Ephesians 5:22-24, God makes it pretty clear that the husband is the leader, not the wife! “Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.”
So, even though you are a strong capable woman, give room for your husband to lead. Avoid making all the decisions for your family. Ask him to make some decisions. Even though you’re perfectly capable, ask him to help you with some projects. Yes, you can re-arrange the living room furniture without his help, but he will enjoy being needed by you if you ask him to lift the heavy furniture. (And don’t forget to admire his muscles!)
Want to improve your communication interactions with your husband? Well, maybe it would help if you understood three things that really matter to most men when it comes to communication. Here they are:
1) Most husbands prefer that their wife be direct in stating what they want or need. They don’t respond to hints. They don’t want to have to read between the lines or try to read your mind. They just want you to come right out and state what you want or need…and it helps if you can state your needs calmly, without a lot of drama or intense emotion.
2) Most husbands want you to keep it simple and short. They don’t want long explanations or fascinating details. Their minds begin to wander after about 30 seconds! So get to the point quickly. Ecclesiastes 5:3 is a good reminder. It says “Many words mark the speech of a fool“.
3) All husbands need their wives to be respectful, both while talking and while listening. This is Biblical. Ephesians 5:33 says “the wife must respect her husband“. This means speaking to your husband in a respectful tone and making sure your body language and facial expressions show honor. No eye-rolling! It also means that you listen attentively when your husband is speaking to you, and you refrain from interrupting him, finishing his sentences, or correcting him. Oh, and one more thing. It means you let him have a few moments to unwind when he comes in the door at the end of the day before you launch into a big discussion!
Do you tend to get loud when you get upset? Are you prone to big, dramatic displays of your emotions, whether joy, frustration or sadness? Well you might not know this, but most men are really uncomfortable with big displays of emotion. This isn’t true for ALL men, but for most men.
In other words, if you’re a drama queen….your husband will likely try to escape your presence! He just doesn’t know what to do with your larger-than-life emotions. Maybe this is why 1 Peter 3:4 advises wives to have the beauty that comes from a “gentle and quiet spirit“.
Most men much prefer that their wives discuss their emotions, fears, disappointments, frustrations, and joy in a calm manner. Your husband will be much more likely to engage in a meaningful discussion with you if you can speak in a normal tone of voice, without waving around your arms. Try it!
Do you sometimes get really frustrated with your husband when he doesn’t see the need to tackle a project quickly? Do you get exasperated when he doesn’t seem to have a clue how you feel or why you feel the way you do? Well, here’s a news bulletin. He doesn’t understand how you think and feel because he’s not a woman! In Genesis 1:27, we are reminded that God created two distinctly different kinds of people…. “male and female he created them.” Your man doesn’t think or emote like you because God created him to be different than you!
Men don’t generally sense an urgency to get the kid’s schedule figured out or the house vacuumed. But you do. Men don’t usually like to sit and talk about their concerns regarding the children or their job. You might need to do that, but men generally check out by entering the “nothing box” in their head!
I guess what I’m saying is…don’t be surprised that your husband doesn’t seem to understand you. He won’t understand you all the time because you’re a woman and he is not. This makes it all the more important for you to have good female friendships. Make it a point to spend some time with other women, in person or on the phone, at least twice a week. You need someone to understand and validate your thoughts, fears, hopes, and frustrations. (Just one caution though. Don’t bad-mouth your husband in the process.)
Sometimes, men are so hard to understand! When we first see our husbands at the end of our work day, whether working away from home or inside the home, we LOVE to talk about how the day has gone. We eagerly await our husband’s arrival so that we can share the details about the children, the crazy thing the neighbors did today, the weird stuff that happened at work, etc. We LOVE to verbally process the day with our husbands. But guess what? Most men loathe communicating with their wives as soon as they walk in the door. They long to spend some time in their “nothing box”. Huh?
It’s hard for women to understand a man’s need for his “nothing box” because most women don’t even know what one is! I’ve had a few men explain it to me, and here’s the basic idea. After a long day at work, most men need to enjoy either quiet or mindless activity in order to decompress from their day. This means your husband probably doesn’t want to hear the fascinating details of your day as soon as he walks in the door and he probably doesn’t want to talk about his day either…at least not for a while.
So, give your husband some space when he first walks in the door. Greet him with a smile and a kiss and then allow him some time in his “nothing box”. You will become more beautiful to him. God says this to wives in 1 Peter 3:3-4, “Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit…”
Did you know most men really like to be needed? I know. Sometimes it doesn’t seem like it. Sometimes, it seems like it’s hard to get them to follow through on a task you asked them to handle. But you know what? Sometimes we pick inopportune times to ask. Often we don’t have their full attention, or we mention the task along with five other things we discussed. Remember, men don’t think the same way women do! They usually focus on only one thing at a time.
Anyway, back to the “being needed” thing. 🙂 Surveys show most men really do want to be your hero. I believe it’s a way they feel respected, and we know that respect is so important for a man that God actually commands wives to respect their husbands in Ephesians 5:33!
This means our men want to lift a box that is kind of heavy for us. They want to fix the leaky faucet and impress you with their “fix-it” skills. They want to figure out a solution to your overloaded schedule problem. They want to be our heroes. The problem is this. We often try to tackle everything ourselves….or when we do ask them to help with something, we either ask at a bad time, or we throw in the request amid a whole bunch of other “talk”.
Let’s try this week to ask for our husband’s help with something…at a convenient time, very clearly, and simply. Then let’s show appreciation when he follows through. I bet he will love being your hero.
Many Christian wives have asked me what they should expect from their husbands. In other words, what is godly behavior for a husband? Well, let’s look at what the Bible indicates about this.
Ephesians 5 includes one of the most comprehensive sets of instructions for husbands. It says in verses 25 through 31… “Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, because we are members of his body. Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.”
Wow! That’s a pretty high standard! Yet God expects husbands to strive to imitate Christ’s selfless love for his bride, the church. My husband isn’t Jesus (lol), and I bet yours isn’t either, but our men are supposed to be seeking to become more like Jesus every day. This means a husband should seek to serve the best interests of his wife and act in ways that indicates he cherishes her!
You’ve probably heard of the “Five Love Languages”. It’s something Christian author and psychologist Gary Chapman figured out about how people are wired in terms of receiving love. The love languages are: words of affirmation, physical touch, acts of service, quality time, and gifts. Well, here’s something I’ve learned after talking with many wives whose husbands have completed the love language assessment. Almost all men have “physical touch” as one of their top 2 love languages.
Ladies, this means your husband craves not just sex, but little signs of physical affection throughout the day. When you do these small things, he feels loved by you. So, why wouldn’t you give him the physical affection that you know would bless him? By withholding what he needs to feel loved, we’re actually sinning! James 4:17 says, “If anyone knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is sin for them.”
Here are several ideas on how you can communicate love through physical touch. Reach out to hold his hand as you walk through the store. Give him a 20 second neck and shoulder rub as you’re walking by. Pinch his tush as he walks through the kitchen. Lean over his shoulder while he’s on the computer and give him a kiss. Rest your hand on his leg while you’re sitting together on the couch watching TV. These small acts of physical touch are totally easy and yet they mean so much to most husbands. Try it!